Jerseys were pulled, fists were thrown, and technical fouls awarded in the Class 4A, Section 3 semifinal game, but Apple Valley's tried-and-true transition offense held off Cretin-Derham Hall for an 87-76 victory Saturday night at Burnsville High School.
"We focused on pushing the basketball and getting it into transition," Apple Valley head coach Zach Goring said. "We just try to keep pushing and pushing. If teams want to go up and down the court with us, we're more than happy to make it into a marathon."
Apple Valley's floor-stretching, fast-break offense gave the Eagles an eight-point cushion at the half. Tempers flared in the fast-paced game, as loose balls littered the court.
Fatigue set in as the Raiders tried to match Apple Valley fast break for fast break. A three-point cushion with four minutes to play was enough, and the Eagles pulled away for the 11-point victory.
Sharp-shooting Dustin Fronk nailed six three-pointers en route to 29 points. Eagles sophomore guard Tyus Jones finished with 33 points. Taylor Montero had 21 for the Raiders.
"Any time you get a win in the playoffs, you get to keep playing," said Goring, looking to Friday's championship game against Eastview. "I expect a tight game, crazy crowd and a great atmosphere."
Eastview 62, Eagan 43: Darin Haugh doesn't like to delay the inevitable. The Lightning senior guard nailed four long balls in the first few minutes against Eagan and helped No. 3 Eastview to a convincing victory.
"It was a great win," Haugh said. "It feels great."
Eastview didn't spread the ball around much in the semifinal, but the Wildcats didn't have an answer for Haugh or Joey King, who together scored 21 of Eastview's first 24 points and finished with 21 and 20, respectively.
Haugh's impact wasn't merely from behind the arc; he broke through screens and dived for loose balls all night and has the floor burns to prove it.
The top-seeded Lightning struggled in the first half but started clicking offensively in the second half to turn a seven-point lead at the break into a 19-point victory.
"Our posts are so dominant over other posts," Haugh said, "[The defense] just collapses in on them and they kick it out. I think we can play with anybody."